Friday, January 30, 2009

Twelth (for Twelfth)

Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.
(Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V)
What makes greatness in cataloguing is oft-debated: efficiency vs. perfect description and extensive keyword access vs. controlled vocabulary are just two aspects of the debate. But it can certainly be argued as well that typos in the catalogue lead to poor information access all around: whether in a subject heading, uniform title, or keyword fields like a contents note, a misspelled word is not helpful in the slightest when it comes to retrieval.

The above quotation is from Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night, a title that includes a commonly misspelled word: do a quick search in your library’s catalogue for the typo twelth. A missing "f" ushers no one to greatness.

Leanne Olson

(John Taylor’s painting of William Shakespeare from Britannica Online)

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Geroge (George)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Geroge (for George)

Fans of B.C. and the Wizard of Id, know of Johnny Hart and his abilities in humour and sardonic wit. His Grog character from B.C. fame is described variously as a talking hairball or a mass of hair with arms and legs. Hart's comic strip began in the 50's and contained many unusual characters: from Clumsy Carp, who trips over pebbles yet is able to make "water balls," to apteryx (which is difficult to spell but does not show up much in catalogues, thus will not be a typo of the day—fortunately).

Be it Geroge Washington Carver, or Geroge Gershwin, this misspelling places a rather harsh emphasis on the "g", almost making it akin to the strongman of "millions of years ago".

Image of Grog from Google Images.

You will find this appearing 177 times in OhioLink, thereby placing it on the A list (those of highest probablity) of the Typographical Errors in Library Databases.

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Baloon* (for Balloon*)

Physicist Auguste Piccard was born on this day in Switzerland, January 28, 1884. He explored the upper stratosphere of the Earth in balloons of his own design, with airtight, pressurized cabins. In 1932, he ascended as high as 17,008 metres (55,800 feet)! Later, he used a similar cabin design to explore the depths of the oceans.

Baloon* is a common typing error for balloon*, occurring over 25 times in OhioLINK (making it of high probability on the Ballard list) and over 200 times in Worldcat, not including the instances of the name Balooni.

Be careful with another possible typo, ballon, because this is also the German word for balloon—think of Nena’s anti-war hit pop song, 99 Luftballons (recorded in English as 99 Red Balloons, though "Luft" simply translates as "air", not "red").

Leanne Olson

(Red balloons photo from Meguapixel's Flickr photostream)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Institi*, Institiu* (for Institution, Institute etc.)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Institi*, Institiu* (for Institution, Institute etc.)

This is the type of typo that is easy to make, as evidenced by the large number found in OhioLink (200+ to 407, depending on whether the language limit functions properly). This is found in the highest probability category in the Typographical Errors in Library Databases.

You will find this represented by Instition, Institition, and Institiution, among others, either by duplicating the "ti" (probably having that finger strike the "i" instead of the "u"), forgetting the "tu", or by striking both the "i" and the "u" just for good measure.

Given the proximity of the I and U on the standard QWERTY keyboard (there are other keyboards, which separate the I and U), it is understandable how and why this typo appears with such frequency. Interestingly, the layout of the keys was constructed the way we find it today so that the arms controlling the type would not jam. Fine and good for typewriters, not all that necessary for pc keyboards, which are nigh ubiquitous, being found in institutions around the globe.

Be careful of non-English manifestations of "institute". While most every typo you locate will need correction, there are some that are correct in their own right.

Image from Google Images

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sporano* for (Soprano*)

On January 26, 1988, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera premiered on Broadway, at the Majestic Theater. Based on the novel by Gaston Leroux, it became the longest running Broadway musical in history, overtaking Lloyd Webber’s Cats for the top spot—and it’s still running!

The musical’s protagonist is the beautiful soprano Christine Daae, a role originally performed by Sarah Brightman (pictured here). Christine is a sweet ingénue, very different from the typical soprano diva as seen in the character Carlotta—a diva you would not want to cross by misspelling “soprano” as “sporano"!

Be careful when replacing sporano* in your catalogue, however: this will also catch referrals to Sporanox, a medication used to treat fungal infections.

Sporano* is a typo of high probability on the Ballard List, appearing 24 times in OhioLINK and over 140 in Worldcat.

Leanne Olson

(Photograph of Sarah Brightman as Christine taken from a Geocities Phantom fansite)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Nietzch* (for Nietzsch*)

January 23, 2009 -- Nietzch* (for Nietzsch*)

Philosopher Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche’s name is not the easiest to spell—perhaps a cataloguer would have to be an Übermensch to get it right all the time. The misspelling Nietzch* garners over 500 hits in Worldcat, and appears on the “high probability” Ballard list.

However, the difficulty of keeping the library catalogue perfect does not mean we should give up. The philosopher (pictured here) declared that “admiration for a quality or an art can be so strong that it deters us from striving to possess it” and we must keep from applying this fear of perfection to our own work.

Nietzsche strove to be a bit übermenschlich himself, admiring Renaissance Men such as Leonardo da Vinci. In addition to his philosophical writings, he explored the arts, writing poetry and composing music--he was an excellent pianist, but many have observed that his compositions showed a lack of originality.

Leanne Olson

(image of Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche from Wikipedia)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Asociat* (for Association, Associate, etc.)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Asociat* (for Association, Associate, etc.)

Last week the "i" was absent from "Association"; this week it's the "s" that goes AWOL. Interesting acronym AWOL is. Absent without leave is exactly what has happened to the "s". It almost makes the reader think some sort of "asocial" activity is implied. Such is the potential result of typos: varied and gross misunderstanding, not to mention unfindability.

Perhaps one of the most embarrassing examples is:

By Way of Introduction: A Book List for Young People, compiled by a Joint Committee of the American Library Association and the National Education Asociation.

This is the way an association is supposed to work:

Asociat* appears 101 times on OhioLink, just inching it into the highest probablity category in the Typographical Errors in Library Databases.

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Constiti*, Consitu* (for Constitution, Constitutional)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Constiti*, Consitu (for Constitution, Constitutional, etc.)

Constitutionals are good for your health. Harry Truman apparently was known for them. That type of constitution is a horse of a different color (as they say) and as such differs from the one referenced today, although the spellings (or misspellings) are the same. Yesterday's Daily Typo made reference to the US Constitution (the 20th Amendment), which gives rise to today's typo.

Constiti* finds both Constitition and Constition and even Constititutional.

Perhaps we could have an amendment on spelling?

Yet another type of Constitution (from Google Images)

There are 43 hits in OhioLink for Constiti* and 86 hits for Consitu*, which place these typos on the B list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases (of high probability).

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inagur*, Inaugua* (for Inauguration)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Inagur*, Inaugua* (for Inauguration)

On April 16, 1789, George Washington began the journey from his home at Mount Vernon to New York City, then the nation's capital, where he would be inaugurated. Washington was reluctant to leave the serenity of his home and uncertain about his new position. His journal entry for that day noted:

"About 10 o'clock I bade adieu to Mount Vernon, to private life, and to domestic felicity, and with a mind oppressed with more anxious and painful sensations than I have words to express, set out for New York in company with Mr. Thompson, and Colonel Humphries, with the best dispositions to render service to my country in obedience to its call, but with less hope of answering its expectations."

From: "The Inauguration of George Washington, 1789," EyeWitness to History, (2005).

Quite the day today in the United States. According to the 20th Amendment, January 20th is the day of the Inauguration. A time of celebration, regardless of your political bent. Why? Because this transfer of leadership happens orderly and peacefully. What is not orderly, nor peaceful (to the eye), are the typos that appear in our catalogs.

Inauguration of Andrew Jackson

from Google images

Inagura* appears 25 times in OhioLink, including typos in English, Latin, Spanish, German. Inaugua* appears 20 times in OhioLink. This places these typos on the B list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases (of high probability).

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Monday, January 19, 2009

Astromon* (for Astronom*)

Astromony, a medium probability typo on the Ballard List, sounds a bit like how a young child might pronounce Astronomy…but by the time NASA’s New Horizons mission reaches Pluto, that child would be well on his way to being a preteen, and spelling and pronouncing the word properly (we hope).

On January 19, 2006, the unmanned NASA probe was launched toward Pluto. It will take approximately 9 ½ years to reach the former planet, arriving in July 2015 after a 3 billion mile journey.

The current whereabouts of the New Horizons spacecraft can be tracked online. As of this posting, it has currently passed beyond Saturn’s orbit, but has not yet reached Uranus. The photo accompanying this post shows Jupiter, taken on the New Horizons’ flyby in 2007.

Here's a bit of trivia: on Pluto, you would weigh only 7% of your weight here on Earth.

Leanne Olson

(Photo of Jupiter from NASA's New Horizons mission page.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Saxaphon* (for Saxophon*)

The saxophone was invented by Belgian instrument-maker Adolphe Sax around 1840, and patented in 1846. The sax provided a link between the high and weaker instrument voices in the orchestra, by combining elements of several brass and woodwind instruments: keys inspired by the flute and clarinet, a mouthpiece like a bass clarinet’s, and the body of a bass ophicleide (try spelling that one 3 times fast).

Today we associate the saxophone with popular music, particularly jazz (as seen in the photo of Charlie “Yardbird” Parker). However, it was originally intended for use in the orchestra and military band; in fact, the composer Hector Berlioz stated that the sax was “‘the finest voice we have’ for works of a solemn nature” (Grove Music online).

The versatile saxophone is not, however, versatile in its spelling, and the substitution of an a for the second o should be avoided. The typo Saxaphon* comes in at a high probability on the Ballard List. Keep in mine that Saxophon, without an e on the end, is not always an error--this is the German word for the instrument.

Leanne Olson

(Photo of Charlie Parker from his official website)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Assocat* (for Association, Associate, etc.)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Assocat* (for Association, Associate, etc.)

It's said that many animals have an inner eyelid. It's thought to be associated with eye protection and as an aid in hunting. If you've ever noticed it in your cat or dog or even bird, it's quite an interesting feature. Something else equally interesting is the fact that Mr. Spock, an associate of the Starship Enterprise, evidently had a set of inner eyelids because his home planet of Vulcan was beset by harsh and bright light, thus its name. But that's another story for another stardate.

Also called the nictitating membrane. More information can be found here.

There are "i's" aplenty missing in "assocat*" and finding or hunting for them should not be all that difficult.

There are 120 "assocations" in OhioLink. You will find them in title fields, statements of responsibility, publisher's statements, notes fields, and subject fields. There's even an additional two appearing in an author search! Not to mention Assocates, which appears five times.

If you are so inclined, "in assocation with" will keep you busy for a while as well.

This comes from the A list (those of highest probability) of Typographical Errors in Library Databases.

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard.

Cary Daniel

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Activites* (for Activities)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Activites* (for Activities)

At least here in Canada, there is currently a lot of snow, which calls for much snow shovelin'. Kids make snowforts and have snowball bouts, and of course where there's an incline, there be sleddin' and tobogganin'. All these
activities burn up calories, which are then satisfied with warm victuals.

This one (Activites) will keep you busy (and out of the snow) for quite some time, for there are some 237 instances in OhioLink. Now, of course, it's not really 237. Limiting to English (for activité in French is a real word) only works if the language is coded correctly. If it isn't, some erroneous correct hits will be included. Also, any correctly coded records that are also bilingual (English/French) will appear. This activity may not burn up as many calories as a snowball fight, but it might tax some brain cells a bit.

These cars have been snowed in for quite some time, but luckily mine is in the garage.

Bonne chance, as we say up here.

This comes from the A list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases—those of highest probability, having more than 100. And it certainly does!

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Image from Google Images.

Cary Daniel

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crcula*, Cicula*, Cirula*, etc. (for Circulation & Circular)

Typo of the Day for Librarians
Crcula*, Cicula*, Cirula*, Circult*, Circulaton (for Circulation and Circular)

January 13th marks the day in 1978 that the Philadelphia Mint began stamping the Susan B. Anthony dollar. "Circulation" did not begin until the following July. The coin, although "circular", appeared to be eleven-sided, aka hendecagonal (for all you geometry buffs). Actually, only the rim was hendecagonal. If memory serves, the coin was not all too popular with the populace, who often mistook it for a quarter, in spite of its hendecagonality. As a result, in terms of circulating, it didn't. In recent years, the only place you could find them was at the Post Office (in the form of change from the machines). Not too auspicious for the woman the coin was meant to commemorate.

Image of Susan in all her metallic glory.

From Google Images

The various permutations of Circular and Circulation appear 24 times in OhioLink, which places these typos on the B list of Typographical Errors in Library Databases (of high probability).

Extracted, for AUTOCAT, from Typo of the Day for Librarians at If you have comments about the words selected, how they are selected, or the way the items are written, please contact Terry Ballard .

Cary Daniel

Monday, January 12, 2009

Asymet* (for Asymmet*)

While the word asymmetry is not truly symmetrical (or it would be a palindrome like the Finnish word saippuakivikauppias, “seller of lye”) it does have a sort of balance to it, with 2 Ms and 2 Ys.

This balance is lost with the typos asymetry, asymetrical, or asymetric, which are ranked a high probability on the Ballard list.

The male fiddler crab pictured here, with his one large claw and one small claw, is an example of asymmetry in nature, as is handedness in humans.

Leanne Olson
(Fiddler crab photo from, 8 January, 2008)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Janaury (for January)

The month of January was named after the Roman god Janus, god of beginnings and endings. His name comes from the Latin word for door, ianua, and he is often depicted with two faces (as seen on the coin pictured), carrying a key.

Many optimistic folks make New Year's resolutions in January, hoping that their new beginning will be the key to future happiness. Losing weight, quitting smoking, procrastinating less frequently...or, perhaps, double-checking our spelling and making fewer typos.

Janaury occurs 18 times in OhioLINK, making it a typo of high probability on the Ballard list.

Leanne Olson
(Janus coin picture from

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sciene* (for Science etc.)

On this day in 1958, 9,000 scientists from 43 different nations signed a UN petition for a nuclear test ban. Nuclear weaponry was also the motive for Klaatu’s visiting the earth in his flying disc (from The Day the Earth Stood Still, based on the short story by Harry Bates, "Farewell to the Masters"). This also marks the birthday of Stephen Hawking, who some maintain rivals Newton in out-and-out smarts. "There’s a lot of physics out there," he said, as he gazed up to the heavens. Many years have passed since then, allowing for many a typo to creep into the catalogue.

If sciene* were not enough, there has been an atomic proliferation of typos with this word. Not a two-fer today, not even a three-fer, but, darst I say, a four-fer! OhioLink lists 32 for Sciene*, 21 for Scientf*, 32 for Scientic*, and 34 for Scientifc*

These come from the B or high probability list in Typographical Errors in Library Databases
found at

Your mission is to zap 'em out, just as Gort does.

Cary Daniel

(Image of Gort from Google Images.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Edgar Allen Poe (for Edgar Allan Poe)

Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Edgar Allan Poe wrote on both.

Poe is most famous for his poetry (The Raven) and short stories (The Masque of the Red Death), but the horror writer was also once an aspiring playwright. His only play, the tragedy Politian, was poorly received, and Poe quickly returned to shorter works.

If you did a double take upon reading the play’s title, I can assure you, Politian is not a typo for Politician—it is the name of the protagonist. The author’s name, however, frequently causes troubles for catalogers, with Allan often misspelled as Allen—this is a high probability typo on the Ballard list, and has over 1000 hits in Worldcat.

Leanne Olson
(Raven image from

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Epipany, Epihany, etc. (for Epiphany)

January 6th is Epiphany, the festival celebrated in the Christian Church to commemorate the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the people.

Epiphany marks the end of the 12 Days of Christmas, and while catalogers typing may sound like the 12 precise drummers drumming, a slip of the fingers can leave you with several permutations of the word.

Typos for Epiphany include the low probability misspellings Epipany, Ephipany, or Epihany, all occurring fewer than 10 times in Worldcat. The higher probability Epiphan, which garners 136 hits in Worldcat, is not always a typo: the misspelling seems to double as a male given name.

Leanne Olson

(Illustration from the 12 Days of Christmas photostream at Flickr)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Candada (for Canada)

The first contribution from north of the border, is, well, north of the border: Candada for Canada. Only four instances of this in Ohiolink; however, this occurs 46 times in WorldCat.

Other possible creative spellings are: Cannada (although Robert C. Cannada, author, ironically, of America's Rule of Law, is correct), Caanda, Caanada, and Canadaa.

The name Canada, or Kanata, means village or settlement. The second largest country in the world, in area, occupying roughly the northern two-fifths of the continent of North America.* Big is the word for Canada, from the giant nickel in Sudbury, Ontario, to the giant fish in Tofino, British Columbia. Despite these monuments of granduer, Canada remains one of the world's most sparsely populated countries (relatively speaking), with approximately 32 million inhabitants, the vast majority living a mere 100 miles (161 kilometres) from the U.S. border.

Taking only the OhioLink instances into account, these come from the D or low probability
list in Typographical Errors in Library Databases found
But there are enough elsewhere to keep you busy for a little while.

Lest you seek out the analogous typo "Kantata", be forewarned, for that's legit, being the word for cantata in numerous non-English languages.

*taken in part from:

"Canada." Encyclopædia Britannica,2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Imporv* (for Improve, etc.)

New Year's Day is traditionally a day of self-recrimination quickly followed by optimistic resolve to improve oneself and give up bad habits. Dale Carnegie, who was born in 1888 in Maryville, Missouri, was a titan of self-help and self-promotion. His philosophy is neatly summed up in the title of his best-selling book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It might bear mentioning that Carnegie was keenly attuned to the importance of letters and their placement within words. According to Wikpedia: "Perhaps one of Carnegie’s most successful marketing moves was to change the spelling of his last name from 'Carnegey' to Carnegie, at a time when Andrew Carnegie (unrelated) was a widely revered and recognized name." There are 24 records in OhioLINK that contain the typo Imporv* (although five of them are for improvisation, etc.) and probably at least a few in your own OPACs that could use some improvement.

(From the old Missouri Wall of Fame mural on the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, from flickr.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Celbrat* (for Celebrate, etc.)

I hope you all were prudent and law-abiding while imbibing last night because finding yourself in jail with an annoying cell brat is certainly nothing to celebrate. OhioLINK contains eight instances of Celbrat*, which puts it in the "moderate probability" section of the Ballard list. Sheriff Taylor's laid-back and slow pokey, with its warm bed and home-cooked meals from Aunt Bee, actually doesn't sound all that bad, but the inmate on the right has apparently just swallowed a case of dynamite! I'm not sure what the final resolution was for these two, but let's hope that was one fireworks display that didn't go off in the New Year.

(Otis Campbell with what looks like an ibex, from the show Andy of Mayberry, thanks to

Carol Reid